Our big essay this week focused on the consequences of this administration’s humanitarian intervention in Libya—the most prominent of which has been the destabilization of Mali to the south, where Gadaffi-armed Tuareg rebels have partnered with an al-Qaeda affiliate against the relatively weak central government and have taken over the north of the country. The takeaway:
NATO didn’t so much prevent massacres as move them offstage; the noble idealists and brilliant strategists in the White House who gave the go ahead for the Libyan war must now adjust their consciences as best they can as the consequences of their intervention roll on through Mali and elsewhere… One of Africa’s more promising democratic experiments is in ruins today because of the Wilsonian war in Libya, and we will never know how many Malians have died so that western idealists could feel better about themselves for a while.
There are repercussions in Libya as well, where militias continue to kill people in the south and cause trouble in the capital. Yet here we are again, with humanitarian interventionists clamoring we do something in Syria (and even Sudan!), with little-to-no regard for what would follow after the bad guys are deposed. It appears the Obama Administration has learned some lessons, however, and is proceeding more cautiously with the Syrian rebels — though at this point virtually any course of action carries serious risks.Elsewhere in the region, the Arab Spring seemed to be winding down in Egypt, as the military disbanded the popularly elected and Muslim Brotherhood-dominated parliament. Egyptian liberals and Brotherhood activists alike finally discovered how deep and dark the roots of the military regime actually are: knocking off the head did virtually nothing to the body. And perhaps at the behest of China, there appeared to be some kind of small positive move in nuclear negotiations between Iran’s lead negotiator, Saeed Jalili, and Lady Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s foreign policy chief. As ever, it’s not clear how far the Supreme Leader is prepared to go in this, so it’s best to leaven any optimism with a healthy dose of caution. Iran has made a habit for decades of alternating hard and soft line statements to keep its opponents off balance.China and the Philippines were engaged in a quiet standoff over the Scarborough Shoal, with China imposing a ban on bananas and discouraging its citizens from vacationing in the Philippines. Then this weekend, using an oncoming typhoon as a face-saving pretense, the Philippines withdrew their ships from the area, thus ending this early incident in what is likely to be a long and tense standoff between China and its American-backed neighbors across the region. And as the Obama Administration continues its maneuvering across Asia, it had better take good note of the debates that happen even inside the most stalwart allies. Whether you call it a pivot or a rebalancing, America’s new Pacific foreign policy is no recipe for a quiet life.Other essays and matters of note:
- Rather than simply taking 10 years off your age, it’s perhaps better to count in base-12 when figuring out just how old you are. It’s a better indicator of just how old you are in this modern world which just requires you to take a little longer to hit your stride — and compensates you with more time on the back end.
- As NYT Columnists and the world continue to cool on Obama, Mitt Romney has yet to really connect with voters on a personal level. It’s not just Via Meadia that thinks the Romney campaign should deftly use his Mormonism as a means of personalizing himself—his faith is a feature, not a bug! And indeed, as anti-Mormon bigotry becomes more pronounced on the Left, avoiding the issue may not be an option for long.
- Europe is in trouble. A lot of trouble. The day of reckoning may be closer than we think. Head for the hills!
- The shale oil and gas discoveries in North America are giving OPEC some bad dreams. And the news that China has been grossly lying about its carbon emissions is giving the Greens some bad dreams.
- America controls the world through sex? If you read it in Pravda it must be true, yet even the porn industry is suffering under the leveling forces of the internet.